I won't do a recap of the chapter as, again, Leslie does a superb job of that. I hope if you're reading this you've either just come from there or are headed there... her thoughts, and the other posters she links, are excellent and so insightful. I have found it so helpful to read others' perspectives on this book.
This week's chapter was titled, "A Wife's Understanding of Sin." Whoa. That's a biggie, and I'm so glad she goes there early in the book. Earlier this week I saw a t-shirt at WalMart that said, "I Feel A Sin Coming On." I sort of "tsk-tsk'ed" it when I walked by, but as I shopped I realized I could wear a shirt like that! We all could! But for those in Christ, we are free not to commit that sin. I am not a slave to it anymore. And, it just occurred to me that "feeling a sin coming on" is actually a gift of His grace, because then we can take the "way of escape" that He has promised. That is true freedom, indeed!
One of the most valuable tools I have gained from reading Peace's books is the "Put Off"- "Put On" dynamic, based in Ephesians 4:22-24:
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
I first saw this concept introduced in her book, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart. The concept, as she explains it, is that "we are to put off wrong thoughts with God's help by putting on righteous thoughts." She rightly points out that "wrong, sinful thoughts do not descend upon us out of the blue. They begin with our sinful heart." (see Matthew 15:16-20) In this chapter of The Excellent Wife, she provides a wonderful chart of wrong, sinful thoughts which are common among many wives, and right, Godly thoughts that can replace them. So, so helpful.
I think for many years I repented of my wrong thoughts, but only halfway. I thought I was genuinely sorry and fully confessed it to God. But, as she points out, "the repentance process is not complete until you replace it [the wrong thought] with a godly, righteous thought. Then you will have "put off" a self honoring thought and will have "out on" a God-honoring thought."
As this relates to my marriage, I have seen over and over how issues that have effected our relationship have come right down to my own wrong, sinful thinking. As you might imagine, that came as a complete shock to me! I thought he had the problem, of course! The longer I walk with the Lord, though, the more I see my own sin, and my own need for His grace. I am increasingly grateful for Christ's atoning work for me on the cross. I am more and more in awe of the 1 John 1:9 forgiveness that He offers me each day. That's one of the reasons why I chose the verse I did for the top of my blog. His mercies are new every morning. And He created the world as He did so that it's morning somewhere all day long! His forgiveness and mercy are available moment by moment.
One quote I love from this chapter is, "Christians have to be "...transformed by the renewing of their minds" (Romans 12:2) As we work at it, the Holy Spirit supernaturally enables us. Eventually the godly response becomes the automatic response." Imagine, a godly response by default! Amazing!
That's an excellent wife, indeed.